How Can You Make Sundowning Easier on Your Aging Adult?

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

December 15, 2017

Sundowning is common in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease but it’s not very enjoyable for anyone. It occurs generally around the time the sun is going down and it can cause your elderly family member to experience greater restlessness, outbursts, or even disorientation.

Home Care Services in Pittsburgh PA: Sundowning And Your Aging Adult
Home Care Services in Pittsburgh PA: Sundowning And Your Aging Adult

Establish Routines for Every Day
Routines can be vital for your aging adult. They let her know what to expect, every single day. Having home care providers arriving at the same time each day that they are with your senior and maintaining specific meal times are just two aspects of your senior’s daily routine. Set aside specific time for everything from baths to naps and stick to that routine.
Watch for Signs of What Triggers Sundowning
Your senior may respond to different triggers that cause her to experience worse episodes of sundowning. Figuring out what those triggers are for your aging adult can make life so much easier. There may be specific foods or drinks that cause issues, such as too much caffeine too late in the day, which you can avoid.
Turn Some Lights On
Many aging adults with dementia find that the changing light patterns of late afternoon and early evening contribute greatly to sundowning. If that’s the case for your aging adult, start turning lights on in the house before the sun starts to go down. This can help to skip that particular trigger and it’s easy to do.
Watch for Overstimulation
If there’s too much going on or there are too many different people around, your senior may experience just too much. Too much anxiety, confusion, or even noise. Limiting exposure to all of these things that can be too much, especially later in the day, can help quite a bit.
Use Distractions, if Possible
In some cases, your elderly family member may respond well to distractions. Taking a walk or watching a favorite television show may be enough to keep her occupied and from worrying about the time of day. Saving a special treat for this time of day can help to associate it with positive experiences.
You may need to try a combination of different solutions to find the ones that work the best for your elderly family member.

If you are considering hiring home care services in Pittsburgh, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care.
Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551